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.14 VERDICT OX INDIA
from corkscrews to eau-de-Cologne.
Wherever you find culture in India, you will find the Parsees.
They are almost the only patrons of art. They are the only
people who have apportioned anything like an adequate part of
their wealth to the social services, founding hospitals and libraries,
establishing parks and playing grounds. Theirs are the only
figures that stand out from the vast desert of mediocrity which
is the Indian Press.
India without the Parsees would be like an egg without salt.
And without a good deal of its yolk too.
But—and it is a very big 6but3—we cannot really call them
* Indians.3 Even if they themselves claimed the title—(and a
large number of them do not, preferring to regard themselves as
a separate community, living on tolerance)—the vast majority of
Indians would deny it to them. They say that the Parsees are
really Persians, as their name implies. They always were Persians,
and they always will be. And they say it in terms which are by no
means polite. For the Parsees have aroused great envy ; thousands
of fingers are itching to get at their gold. * Wait till we are free—
you won't be able to see the Parsees for dust.* So runs the
argument. It is an argument to which the Parsees would do
well to pay heed.
And now the darkness is almost complete.. .the darkness of
the mountains and the valleys surrounding us, and the darkness
of our minds in this search that leads to Nobody.
However, just as there are still a few gleams of gold in the sky
so there are still a few rays of hope in our minds. For there are
still large communities, running into many millions, which we
have not yet considered. For instance, we have not mentioned
the Sikhs. Nor the Jains, nor the Buddhists. Nor, for that.
matter, the Christians. Maybe, among some of these...?
So we make a last effort, beginning with the Sikhs. The Sikhs